Detective Sgt. George Wren was at Sea Isle City on Aug. 3 when the incident occurred, according to a post shared on the New Jersey State Police Facebook page.
At the beach, Wren was warning his sons about the dangers of rip currents: strong, narrow currents that move away from the shore, which cause more than 100 people, on average, to drown each year, according to the U.S. Lifesaving Association.
As he was finishing his explanation, a woman screamed that a swimmer was drowning, police reported.
“I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time,” Wren told CBS. “All of a sudden I heard a voice from behind me — a woman’s frantic voice say, ‘Save him.’ And I turn toward the water and sure enough, I did see a gentleman who was about 75 yards out to sea.”
"Wren relied upon his water rescue training and used a surfboard to navigate the treacherous current to swim to the victim," the statement reads.
Eventually, Wren reached the man, who appeared to be in his sixties. He was fatigued and could hardly keep his head above water.
“I helped him mount the surfboard and I told him, ‘Look I’m a New Jersey State Trooper, I’m not going to let anything happen to you,'" Wren said.
Wren was successful at getting the man back to shore.
"It was later determined that the man had suffered a heart attack when he was rescued," the statement read. "He has since been released from the hospital and is at home recovering."
Wren had assumed that his selfless act wouldn't gather much attention. However, a few days ago, the victim's wife called the New Jersey State Police to thank the detective.
“It’s a flattering experience,” Wren said. “It’s an awesome thing to be a part of with such a great, happy ending.”
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